"When I called Lang the other day, he recalled going to seminars in D.C. a few years ago with "all these political science guys and think tankers" who would repeat the mantra of the moment: "Assad must go."
"I would ask at these conferences, 'What if he doesn't go? What if they fight their way through this?'" Lang recalled. "They'd say, 'Oh it's not gonna happen. He's gonna go. He's a terrible man. There's no support for him.'"
In fact there was plenty of support from the minority Christians, Alawites and Shia Muslims who feared they'd be slaughtered by Sunni jihadis if the government fell – not an unrealistic fear given the actions of ISIS in the parts of Iraq and Syria it controlled.
By the time the 2016 campaign got going it was obvious to anyone paying attention that the strategy of regime change should have died with the Bush 43 administration. Yet the Republican who aspired to be Bush 45 was still backing regime change, as was the eventual Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.
They were the establishment favorites. But The Donald outraged the establishment by coming out against the idea of toppling secular dictators.
The big question was whether President Trump was going to be seduced by the Beltway crowd into reneging on his promise." Mulshine
This article says it all. pl
It seems very unpopular on this blog to say Trump knows exactly what he is doing. A lot of people made up their minds that he is a buffoon and seem to have trouble to change their minds. He didn’t move the embassy to Jerusalem. Some puppet master Netanyahu is. He didn’t forget to take Jared Kushner with him, he purposely “handed him over in the wardrobe”, so to speak. His opponents are throwing mighty punches every day, but their arms are too short and he just humors them, and strikes back when they got their pants well and truly down.
Col., I remember you once said something along the lines of Bibi suddenly discovering Trump would take a dim view of Israel dictating policy to him.
However, you also said more recently the ceasefire negotiated with Putin only took place because pro-Zionist forces in the administration like Kushner and McMasters happened to be isolated from Trump at the time.
As US pivot in Syria begins to take effect, do you still favour the latter interpretation?
Not trying to ‘logic trap’ you, because i can see why your interpretation evolved. What I’m wondering is if its still evolving?
Trump is evolving, not I. Putin and reality are moving him IMO. It is easier to evolve when you don’t have the anti-evolution crowd breathing down your neck. pl
I think Trump fully realizes that the policy of arming jihadists in Syria is bankrupt. This is where his mentality as a real estate businessman serves as a real plus for the country. It also helps that this was Obama’s policy and Trump seems to take great pleasure in tearing down anything that Obama stood up. I’m all for it in this case. Unfortunately, he still seeks confrontation with Iran for the same reason. He is determined to tear down whatever Obama started. If only there was a way to convince him that confrontation with Iran is a loser policy and he should walk away from it like he walked away from his bankrupt casino.
Interestingly enough the Jews and the neocons (but i repeat myself) are saying Trump has struck his own fateful bargain with Iran that, just like Obama, has harmed Israel’s seeming ubiquitous ‘interests’.
The argument goes a de jure deal with Russia over Syria is a de facto deal with Iran, since these two countries are joined at the hip when it comes to supporting Assad. By making Russia responsible for implementing the ceasefire and pulling the plug on the headchoppers, US influence will be excluded from Syria and Iran will be free to pop back into the picture. Thus, Trump has handed Syria to Iran.
There’s a string of articles in their press where the who’s who of the Israeli security establishment beating the war drums, in concert with the craven press in America (NYpost, The Daily Beast, and Politico in particular).
It would be great if Trump can be convinced that “regime change” and “nation building” are bankrupt policy as has been proven over and over again in the past decades. When the duopoly and the DC groupthink favor interventions overseas when it has no national benefit it is gonna take spine and nerves of steel to go against the Borg. We have seen the hysterical response to any potential rapprochement with Russia.
How do we get a non-interventionist foreign policy when there is no constituency for it other than on the fringes like Ron Paul? Clearly the majority of voters who keep voting the interventionist duopoly prefer our global destabilization policy that is shortchanging investment at home.
The Iran demonisation, same as Russia’s is a must-show imperative. Your President already had displayed some blasphemy in meeting Putin and attacking full liberal-global economy (China and Germany)and he did force in the final document at the G 20 the acceptance of his position, in the usual muddy diplomatic lingo.
Maybe we could compare the Iran menace steaming up to the last North Korea opera. All furor, menaces, saber ratling and after due consideration, kind of a due diligence on the options on the table,a typically business process,you wait and see.
So is President Trump very shrud or instinct driven?
IMHO, he is quite shrud on the major internationnal issues and rather emotive on the interior front of the russian-gate.
Correct. He will never be convinced to not tear down anything of value associated with Obama – it animates him.
When his policies comport with one’s beliefs & plans, you may well be momentarily enthused. It is misplaced joy. He’s as rational & reliable as a storm… you might get steady rain & a great crop, or floods and destruction.
There are rational, analytical correspondents on SST. It doesn’t mean the subject matter is. When admin policies or events go your way, it’s a consequence of a Trump-storm, or his being manipulated by those skilled at working his urges to their ends.
Resentment and revenge is ugly.
I think he really did want to have a win-win-win scenario, but his opponents have shown that they’d rather burn the country to the ground than find common ground for a win-win-win. Therefore, he has stopped playing nice and is moving forward where he can.
If indeed Putin is helping Trump better understand/coordinate efforts with respect to Middle East dynamics, then it would have to extend on handling Iran as well.
I think he’s only looking to contain Iran rather than looking to start a bigger war that would likely be disastrous. Also Trump appears to be pushing for a withdrawal from Afghanistan and that this sentiment will probably extend elsewhere in time.
“He will never be convinced to not tear down anything of value associated with Obama – it animates him.”
I can’t wait until he starts talking about criminal justice. I’ll just love seeing the left squirm when Trump starts pointing out how many men Obama “mass-incarcerated” and we should really get back to a fair and impartial judicial system.
Colonel Lang: Can you recommend a good history of the people and forces,
in the government, media, think tanks, foreign policy establishment, pressure groups, and whatever,
that have influenced and set U.S. policy concerning Syria?
Secretary Clinton, Ambassador Ford, ….
“I wish to imagine under what new features despotism might appear in the world: I see an innumerable crowd of men, all alike and equal, turned in upon themselves in a restless search for those petty, vulgar pleasures with which they fill their souls. Each of them, living apart, is almost unaware of the destiny of all the rest. His children and personal friends are for him the whole of the human race; as for the remainder of his fellow citizens, he stands alongside them but does not see them; he touches them without feeling them; he exists only in himself and for himself; if he still retains his family circle, at any rate he may be said to have lost his country. . . . Above these men stands an immense and protective power which alone is responsible for looking after their enjoyments and watching over their destiny. It is absolute, meticulous, ordered, provident, and kindly disposed. It would be like a fatherly authority, if, fatherlike, its aims were to prepare men for manhood, but it seeks only to keep them in perpetual childhood; it prefers its citizens to enjoy themselves provided they have only enjoyment in mind. It works readily for their happiness but it wishes to be the only provider and judge of it. It provides their security, anticipates and guarantees their needs, supplies their pleasures, directs their principal concerns, manages their industry, regulates their estates, divides their inheritances. Why can it not remove them entirely from the bother of thinking and the troubles of life?” – Democracy in America
The system is designed to create people who will never be able to think outside their immediate interests. Citizens of Western democracies do what they’re told, and thanks to the illusion of ‘choice’, they conform without all the fuss of tanks running over protesters. That’s how you institute a stable despotism.
I cannot. My mind doesn’t run to such books. I assemble a picture from bits and shreds of data, examining each and discarding much of it. In any event I do not think the publishing business would accept such a book. pl
In your quest to understand the influences that led to our interventionist policy in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Ukraine you should examine the critique or lack thereof from the left.
IMO, the right did have at least a few that openly criticized our military and covert interventions outlining the potential consequences.
This note by Pat Buchanan asks an important question that goes to the heart of the argument of the interventionists that their cause is just and moral. Some even go to the extent of claiming divine obligations.
A fascinating post on one of the key players in the funding, training and arming of jihadis to effect regime change.
“The War for the Greater Middle East” by Andrew Bacevich gives a broad overview of the forces at work across the region from an American perspective. “From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia” by Pankaj Mishra looks at some of these forces from the other side of the fence, with a broader historical perspective. Both broadly cover some of the general cast of characters and forces at work. But reading, as always, is a contact sport.
To get into the minutiae of internal and external forces occurring with respect to our Syrian policy would require a PhD level dissertation. But sufficed to say, it’s all the ideological offspring of the same cabal of folks who have been rampaging across the Middle East for a cornucopia of reasons for the better part of half a century.
I thought the majority of voters went for Hillary, but the states went for Trump. I would also point out that the voting public rarely (if ever) puts foreign policy matters above domestic economic ones – especially personal, but also collective.
Derek Harvey out at the NSC:
Too close to Steve Bannon according to :
Derek Harvey, a top Middle East adviser to President Donald Trump, has been fired from his position at the National Security Council, effective today. Harvey, a longtime intelligence professional with vast experience in the Middle East, was a key player in the Trump administration’s Iran policy review and its policy development in Syria, Iraq and other regional hotspots.
Forced out by McMaster according to Foreign Policy ( behind paywall)
At the NSC, Mr. Harvey questioned the loyalties of some career staff members who were holdovers from the Obama administration, according to former Trump administration officials. At one point, he compiled a list of people he thought should be fired but no action was ever taken, these people said.
Fisk echoing what Col. Lang has noted.
“…the importance of the Syrian army grows each day. It is no longer the corrupted – and corrupting – force which rotted away in Lebanon for 29 years, nor the untrained force which first confronted insurrection amid the defection of its own soldiers. It is now the most battle-hardened Arab army in the Middle East, more so than the Iraqis, who have far fewer professional soldiers.
And it is the Syrian army which will have to rebuild Syria.”
“Assad must go”? To be replaced with what? al-Qaeda?
How on earth did Washington get to be so full of terror-loving traitors?
In opposition to the Partisans of Ali, all things are permissible.